After Lauren's death I joked that I was going to have this tattooed on my forehead, I heard it so many times. Please don't think that is a criticism, there are actually no words. People wanted to help but didn't know how to, they wanted to speak, but could find no words. I'll let you into a little secret, I don't know the words either. People ask me how I am, and I say, "Oh, you know..." but they don't know, not really, and I can't describe it because, yep, there are no words.
Have we lost them? Death has been around almost as long as life, surely there were words to describe it once. Has our desire for perfection, a happily filtered Instagram ready existence led to the shunning of any words that deal with the pain and suffering, with the things that can't be fixed with a platitude and a good sound bite?
We live in a society where if we don't like something we fix it, teeth not straight, fix them, nose too big, fit it, boobs too big, too small, hair too dark, too light, bum too small, too big, too old, too fat........ it can all be changed, all be fixed.
What about the other things, too lonely, too sad, too anxious, too scared, too broken. The things that can't be fixed, at least not quickly. The things that may, even will lots and lots of work, still remain broken. How do we rewind to a time that we could deal with this. At what point do we realise that we have taken a wrong turn somewhere in our development, that all the money in the world doesn't change the reality of life.
We set ourselves apart from the grief and pain of others, like it could not happen to us. People say " I don't know how you cope..." as they cannot begin to believe that they would ever have to, as though they are somehow special and sacred. Until they are not, until like me you are on the other side of the looking glass and then you do cope, it's not a choice. I don't get to fix this, I get to be sad, always, that Lauren died. I can't do a course, learn a coping technique and think great, all fixed now. You don't move on.
But I am not alone, people die, fall ill with awful diseases, suffer life changing injuries every single day, blithely ignored by the remaining people untouched as yet by the true realities of life. And all these people cope, without the words to help them, feeling at first alone and then realising they are not, an unspeaking new group of grief and knowledge waiting to envelop them.
It's okay to strive to be better, to want to look better, feel better, be better. But we need to know how to react when things fail, especially when they fail in a way that can't be fixed. Child bereavement is not something that will be suffered by all, but every person will experience loss, a loss that can't be fixed.
Not everyone is going to get their perfect job, or house, or relationship, no matter how hard they try. Just like I'm not going to get to go prom dress shopping with my eldest daughter next month. No amount of journaling or aspirational thinking is going to change that.
I know it is a topic that I come back to again and again, but it is because I deal with it daily. The struggle to vocalise how I feel, to help those close to me, and how I see others struggle as they try to help me. We need to learn to talk about all of life, not just the positive sides. If we talk about it enough maybe, eventually, we will find the right words again.